The smell of popcorn, the rustle of lolly wrappers, and the flickering of a projector — the magic of a trip to the cinema is undeniable.
Even in today’s world of on-demand movies and super-sized TV screens, watching a flick on the big screen truly can’t be beaten — especially if it’s outdoors. And with the arrival of summer — and the upcoming holiday season — for parents looking to entertain the kids, an alfresco screening that brings this cinematic magic to your very own backyard, is just the (movie) ticket!
Certainly comedian and online star, Josh Hawkins thinks so. Having worked with Amazon Australia to build his daughter her very own ‘trampoline theatre’, the ‘Hi Josh’ content creator knows firsthand just how much children love a backyard cinema.
A trip to the movies, picnic, and small scale festival all rolled into one, watching a film in the open air brings extra fun to something that your brood may take for granted. Plus, not only is creating your own backyard theatre simple, it can also be within a reasonable budget.
From the basic essentials and lighting ideas, to seating and snacks — read on for our ‘how to’ guide to creating your own outdoor cinema that’s guaranteed to appeal to big and little kids alike.
TICK OFF THE ESSENTIALS
First thing’s first — you can’t have an outdoor screening without a good projector.
The most essential bit of kit, you’ll need a projector that is compatible with whatever media player you’ll be watching your movie through. There are a number of options with varying prices and functions. Josh is using the ViewSonic M1Mini Plus Smart LED Pocket Cinema Projector which is portable, lightweight and has built-in speakers. It can stream YouTube from your devices and has Netflix and Amazon Prime apps.
Portable, lightweight and with built-in speakers, the device supports most media players meaning you can easily stream flicks. A built-in battery provides up to six hours of viewing time, so you can easily make it a double feature.
While projector screens are fine and dandy, there’s a certain romance in going old school and opting for a classic big white sheet as a screen. A good sheet will do the trick or get yourself a projector screen. Simply hang taught wherever appropriate in your garden. Pretty and practical!
You probably want to be able to hear your movie, too. While you can use a projector’s built-in speaker, for optimum sound — especially when you have a large yard and noisy kids to contend with — it pays to pair with a portable speaker.
The Tribit Bluetooth Portable Speaker features 360 degree surround sound coupled with ‘XBass technology’ for added drama. Boasting a use time of around 20 hours, it’s also waterproof.
PREP THE AREA
For the best viewing make sure to set up your screen and projector securely in an area protected from the wind.
Next, ensure that the ground is dry and free from debris. For comfort, think about pillows, beanbags and blankets. The Madizz Throw Pillow Covers are oversized, durable, and — perhaps most importantly — machine washable.
If you’re putting down blankets or cushions, lay down a picnic blanket or tarp first to make sure they’re kept dry.
ADD SOME AMBIANCE
After the sun sets it’s time to add some ambient lighting. Outdoor lights don’t just look pretty, they can also help light your way for when you need to head back inside to top up the snacks, or go for a toilet break.
When it comes to scene-setting, you can’t beat fairy lights. Whether draped around tree branches or over the screen, fairy lights really add some flair. A great option are these LED Solar string Fairy Lights.
For maximum magic, the lights offer multiple lighting modes, from flashing and waving, to fading and gently fading, so you can theme to whatever movie you’re viewing.
GO THE EXTRA MILE
In today’s fast-paced world, spending quality time with your kids can be hard. Amidst school, friends, and other commitments, childhood can pass at an almost blink-and-you’ll-miss it-like pace. So it’s important to make the most of these formative years.
With this in mind, come up with some additional movie-related activities for the entire family. Why not get your kids to dress up as their favourite screen heroes? Or make it a pyjama party? Maybe create a film trivia quiz that you can all play? These extra add-ons equate to extra fun.
STOCK UP ON SNACKS
Before settling down to enjoy the film, don’t forget the all-important movie snacks. After all, no self-respecting child wants to watch a movie without them. And the top of any moviegoers snack wish list is, of course, popcorn!
The Galaxy Foods Popping Corn comes in a huge one kilogram bag, which means that you won’t run short.
MAKE MOVIE MAGIC
Last, but obviously not least, comes the most tricky step of the entire outdoor cinema creating process: picking the movie.
Luckily Prime Video has a huge range of family-friendly flicks available, which means that even the most discerning young film fans will be satisfied. Prime Video is included as part of Amazon Prime, Amazon’s membership program offering the best of of shopping, savings and entertainment from Amazon.
Now, all that’s left to do is to lie back, hit ‘play’, and relax under a starlit sky. Pass the popcorn!
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